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48 hour strikes at Amazon Spain Madrid fulfilment centre underway

By Dan Wilson March 21, 2018 - 6:58 pm

The strike by staff at the Amazon Spain Madrid fulfilment centre we wrote about earlier in the month is now underway. The 48 hour stoppage over working conditions and new contractual arrangements began on Tuesday evening. You can read the story here.

The San Fernando de Henares facility in Madrid is the biggest in Spain, which is only one of 5 European countries (along with UK, FR, DE and IT) to operate an national, localised marketplace. Amazon.es opened in 2011 and this is the first time staff have opted to take industrial action. Last month the staff, that numbers 2000 with 1100 on full-time contracts, voted by 74% for strikes. UGT (one of the unions representing staff) spokesperson Rosa García said of support for the action from workers: “We are very, very happy.” The strike will end at 10pm on Thursday.

So, what exactly is the beef? The answer is that it’s complicated with several strands. But it centres around the establishment of a new ‘convenio’ or agreement between the company and workers and the discussions there have been rumbling on since the end of 2016.

But primarily Amazon is concerned about staff absences from sickness and proposes to cut sick pay and the unions argue that much of the absences are a result of tough working conditions and strict targets for staff. According to Garcia: “Currently they pay us 100% of our salary the first time we take leave, but that would be changed to 75%. And you have to take into account that there are a lot of injuries and leaves taken given the type of work.”

There will also be reductions in the rates for working night shifts, Sundays and public holidays.

Amazon has declined to comment on the strike but has noted that wages at the facility are at the top end of what’s typical in the logistics sector in Spain and additionally all workers will be getting a pay rise of 1.6% and 5.6% from April 1st. All starting salaries will rise too with a basic salary becoming €19,790 a year. Employees also receive perks such as healthcare and a pension.

From a merchant point of view, if you use FBA to sell on Amazon Spain, it seems that your despatches will be delayed this week and the timing by ending late on Thursday is deliberate. Don’t forget that the Correos (Spain’s national postal service) doesn’t deliver on a Saturday, so even goods despatched on Friday likely won’t get through until after the weekend unless they go by another shipping provider.

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